Quaintness in Salt Lake

(This is the script for a piece I did for the BBC World Service. Posted here by request. Podcast here.) Something rather quaint is going on in a Salt Lake City courtroom. A company called Novell, who you’d be forgiven for not having heard of, is suing Microsoft over a product called WordPerfect, which you …

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Directory of Distraction-free Writing Tools

(2009 June: added two no delete editors) Editors A working list of tools to reduce writers’ distraction. I’ve been using some of them for a while; I was inspired by Cory Doctorow’s latest post on the matter to collect what I could together. All are free unless otherwise stated.  No backspace/delete editors Typewriter “All you …

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The Thin Yellow Lines of Innovation

Maybe you’ve already noticed this, but I very much like this feature in Google Chrome that lets you see at a glance matches for a search term within a page. The matches appear as yellow lines within the scroll bar (see above) so you can easily access them by dragging the scroll bar itself.b Another …

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links for 2008-09-13

Passionato Over 18,000 (classical) recordings in high-quality (320Kbps) DRM-FREE MP3 files. Seems to work out about $15 for an album, so not sure it’s a huge saving (tags: mp3 music download drm classical) Oblique Strategies Edition 3 (1979) Brian Eno’s inspiration pack (tags: strategies creativity brianeno inspiration) Kleptomania Kleptomania lets you select text anywhere on …

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Word Processing: Still in the Dark Ages

I’m amazed by how word processing is still in the dark ages, considering it’s what we spend most of our day doing. Case in point is Microsoft Word 2007, which throws all sorts of weirdness—artefacts, I guess we’d call them—in text. Try scrolling through a longish document—anything over 5,000 words—and you get this kind of …

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The Leopard’s Spot (On)

Just gotten back from a demo of the new version of Mac’s operating system, Mac OS X Leopard (must confess I don’t like the names. It’s slightly better than Vista, but still a bit lame in my view.) But that’s not the point. I arrived halfway through the demo and so missed a lot of …

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The Death of Writing

James Fallows points out that not everybody back in 1980 believed the computer would replace the typewriter as a writing implement, and that his prediction that the device would be useful incurred the wrath of, among others, the late David Halberstam. James offered to write some articles on a computer, some on a typewriter, and …

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It’s Not the “Death” of Microsoft, it’s the “Death” of Software

Paul Graham writes an interesting obituary of Microsoft, killed off, as he sees it, by applications that sit in your browser. It’s just a matter of time, he says, before every application we need can grabbed off the server. This is the kind of established wisdom of Web 2.0 folks these days that prompts only …

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The Fate Of The Home Productivity Suite

I was asked by a PR firm on behalf of Corel to give my thoughts about office productiviy suites used in the home. I don’t always do that sort of thing, but I thought why not turn it into a blog posting, thereby avoiding any danger of being perceived as aiding and abetting a company …

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Another Incentive To Leave The Office

I’m a big fan of AlphaSmart’s range of portable writing devices, which are aimed at students but are good for anyone with itchy feet who does a lot of typing and needs a device with a good keyboard, screen and battery life. After the Dana, the Dana Wireless and the AlphaSmart 3000, the company has …

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